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Human Rights Observatory
Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War
Friday, February 12, 2016
While world powers gathered in Munich negotiate an “ambitious” cease-fire plan for Syria, forces on the ground are growing increasingly desperate, resorting to shifting strategies and alliances to survive. It is a scenario likely only to further confuse the military situation on the ground and potentially worsen a humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions. The Syrian Center for Policy Research reported Thursday that at least 470 thousand people have been killed in... (Full Story)
El Nino Devastating Harvests in Southern Africa, Aid Agencies Say
Friday, February 12, 2016
Aid agencies are gearing up to help millions of people in southern Africa survive one of the driest years in more than three decades. The United Nations says 14 million people across southern Africa do not know where their next meals are coming from. It says 2.5 million people are in crisis and require urgent humanitarian assistance. The region is in the grip of an intense drought, driven by one of the strongest El Nino climate events of the last 50 years. El Nino produces extreme... (Full Story)
Climate Change Education Found Lacking
Friday, February 12, 2016
How climate change is being taught to American middle- and high-school students is severely lacking, according to a recent nationwide survey. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE), along with the Penn State University Survey Research Center, interviewed more than 1,500 teachers and found that "three out of five teachers were unaware of, or actively misinformed about, the near total scientific consensus on climate change." In addition, said NCSE programs and policy... (Full Story)
Azerbaijan Arrests 8 Men Accused of Joining IS
Friday, February 12, 2016
Azerbaijan has arrested eight men it accuses of joining the ranks of Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, government authorities said Friday. The Azeri nationals "were trained in Islamic State training camps in 2012-2015 and took part in fighting in Syria and within the ranks of terrorist groups," the National Security Ministry said in a statement. The men “participated in radical religious and military training and gained experience in the use of firearms of... (Full Story)
Cuba's Organic Honey Exports Create Buzz
Friday, February 12, 2016
Long known for its cigars and rum, Cuba has added organic honey to its list of key agricultural exports, creating a buzz among farmers as pesticide use has been linked to declining bee populations elsewhere. Organic honey has become Cuba's fourth most valuable agricultural export behind fish products, tobacco and drinks, but ahead of the Caribbean island's more famous sugar and coffee, said Theodor Friedrich, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) representative... (Full Story)
Kenya's Deputy President Wins Key Ruling at ICC
Friday, February 12, 2016
The International Criminal Court ruled Friday that some testimony against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and a co-defendant, who are on trial for alleged war crimes related to post-election violence, was inadmissible. The judges said prosecutors could no longer use depositions made before the start of the case by five witnesses who later recanted their testimony against Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang. Ruto's lawyers were expected to renew their argument that the case should... (Full Story)
World Oil Prices Rise on Rumor of Saudi Production Cut
Friday, February 12, 2016
Energy market watchers credit an increase in oil prices to rumors of a possible production-cut deal that would include Saudi Arabia, other OPEC nations and Russia. The average oil price had dipped well below $30 a barrel recently, but is now around $31. The rumor that has been circulating in oil markets around the world this week involves a possible deal between Saudi Arabia, other oil-producing states in the same region and Russia. The Saudis would be key, though, because of the desert... (Full Story)
Grammy Nominee Jidenna Continues to Turn Heads
Friday, February 12, 2016
If ever you've laid eyes on Jidenna - the nattily dressed singer and emcee behind the Grammy-nominated anthem "Classic Man'' - then certainly you remember him: He's straight out of a time machine with his fiery red hair, slicked into a dapper 1930s style, slim suits and a gold watch chain dangling from his pocket.   His look is as distinct as his background. Born in Wisconsin to a "white hippie'' mom and Nigerian father, Jidenna has also spent time in... (Full Story)
South Korean Companies Appeal to Save Kaesong Complex
Friday, February 12, 2016
South Korean companies hit hard by Seoul's decision to suspend operations at an inter-Korean industrial complex are trying to save the joint venture from being permanently abandoned. Until recently, the Kaesong Industrial Complex was a rare example of substantive economic engagement between the two Koreas, raising hope for serious economic exchanges and better ties between the two nations. The industrial park, situated in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, was home to 124... (Full Story)
Author Remembers D-Day’s 'Forgotten' African-American Heroes
Friday, February 12, 2016
On June 7, 1944, a 20-year-old medic named Waverly Woodson plunged into the surf of Omaha Beach to drag four drowning British soldiers to safety. Injured by shrapnel, he’d already spent marathon hours treating other wounded men during the D-Day landings in Normandy. He collapsed from exhaustion shortly after. William Dabney was also hit by shrapnel as he waded to shore through waist-deep water. George Davison saw “bodies being blown to bits,” as he ducked from German fire on the wide,... (Full Story)
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